One of the things Athena Haywood enjoys most about her job as CSV’s recruitment intern is being an access point for community members who want to volunteer. “I like helping people find the right opportunity for them,” says Athena, a 2020 Middlebury College grad and Fulbright fellowship recipient completing her master’s degree in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).
One of Athena’s main recruitment goals this year has been to onboard more people of color. “I’m trying to increase the number of POC’s to serve as mentors for [student] POC’s, and the program is being intentional about it.” Outreach to area colleges and universities are a focus of this effort. “I want to find the best people to support POC’s in their learning.”
When she isn’t actively communicating with new and prospective volunteers, Athena meets with the same Cambridge Public School student every Tuesday as a tutor. “I think it’s important to have a link between the work you are doing and the people you are helping. When I’m recruiting, I get to speak on what I’m experiencing.”
Athena grew up in Brooklyn—with smaller stints in Cuba and Grenada—where she volunteered for multiple years with the New York City Department of Education’s District 75, which provides highly specialized instructional support for students with significant challenges. “My mom works with students with disabilities, and my grandmother—who is from the tiny island of Grenada—has been a teacher for over 40 years. Also, my sister was born with a cataract—blind in one eye. All these life experiences have led me to help people in any way that I can. And it’s taught me that the most important skill for this job is communicating the value of the work we are trying to recruit people to do.”
Though Athena will be moving on from CSV this spring, rest assured that her good work will continue: Her next job will be with the International Rescue Committee.